Reliving the heartbreak
At around 10pm, I was in front of the TV in my house in Japan and was anticipating with building joy the moment when Toyota would gain the victory for the first time. My mobile in hand, I communicated constantly with the team in France.
Not only have I competed myself, but I have been to many races and even though I knew well that anything could happen between the start and the chequered flag, this time I felt a sense of victory, of winning. Once the chasing Porsche made a pit stop my feeling got stronger and then, suddenly, our car slowed down - the driver shouted, ‘No power’ on the radio and stopped on the track in front of race control line with three minutes left of the 24 hours.
It was a shocking moment. I remember the heartbreaking feeling and could not find the words I wanted to say to each member of the team: the drivers, mechanics, engineers, suppliers and everyone involved who had put so much of themselves into this magnificent effort.